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Dillon Levenque

A Derail Thread

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2 minutes ago, Clover Jinx said:

Word choice people! It is important. No amount of back-pedaling will fix it.

Yes, words are important.

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1 hour ago, Ivanova Shostakovich said:

   If there's an upside to seasonal allergies, it's the ABS WORKOUT!! Yeah!

 

That has the word 'workout' in it, thus it cannot be an upside to anything.  :P

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33 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

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   My parents had this National Lampoon record album when I was in high school. I shared it with my boyfriend. We both got a laugh out of this piece. But secretly I was jealous of how enamored he was at the ladies singing in it.

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4 hours ago, Ivanova Shostakovich said:

   If there's an upside to seasonal allergies, it's the ABS WORKOUT!! Yeah!

 

Found out I have an umbilical hernia, no abs workouts for me until that’s fixed! Or coughing or straining or...

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2 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

... has lived most of her life just 30 minutes away from worse misfortune.

You will probably not be surprised that I was thinking of you as I posted this classic bit of wisdom.  9_9  There may be worse places to seek your fortune than Milwaukee, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment.  Well, no.... possibly Des Moines.  I lived near there for 20 years.

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37 minutes ago, Rolig Loon said:

You will probably not be surprised that I was thinking of you as I posted this classic bit of wisdom.  9_9  There may be worse places to seek your fortune than Milwaukee, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment.  Well, no.... possibly Des Moines.  I lived near there for 20 years.

Dad was born in Lost Nation (my favorite name for a town... ever) and raised in Davenport. I don't think there's a place in Iowa I haven't enjoyed visiting. I was probably within miles of you at some point in my life.

Fortune is an interesting thing. I don't really seek it. I think that would end up like all those times I searched the house for my glasses, only to look in a mirror and see them on top of my head.

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3 minutes ago, Madelaine McMasters said:

Fortune is an interesting thing. I don't really seek it. I think that would end up like all those times I searched the house for my glasses, only to look in a mirror and see them on top of my head.

Here's a true long shot .....  Were you by any chance raised with a copy of Howard Pyle's Wonder Clock on your bedside table?  Or maybe the smaller volume, Pepper & Salt? I have met very few people who even know of them -- they were published early in the 20th century and not commonly read after about the 1930s -- but those who recognize them seem to have had the same quirky and rich, imaginative childhood that I had.  Since you and I were strangely separated at birth, I take a guess that you may be one of the few.

Howard Pyle's stories were in the spirit of Lange's many Fairy Books, but clearly written with a Scandinavian or at least Germanic imagined history behind them.  The "king," where a story needed one, was always just a rather prosperous local fellow with the biggest house in town, and most common folk were shopkeepers or farmers, scrabbling for a few pennies to buy a loaf of bread.  A common theme was that of the young man (or maiden) -- often the youngest of three siblings, the other two being amoral louts -- who goes off into the world to seek fortune.  The wanderer quite often overcomes unimaginable perils only to return home and be rewarded by discovering that fortune was there all along.  Pyle illustrated each of the stories with wonderful etchings in the style favored in his time.

Even now, well over a half century after my father started reading those stories to me at bedtime, I can quote many sections from memory.  I know that they shaped my world view, teaching the value of self-reliance, humility, lateral thinking, and pride in a job well done, to say nothing of what it means to call a place "home."  

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Rolig, I don't know "Wonder Clock", but wouldn't be surprised if Dad did. He was raised by his grandfather, who was a classmate of Wilhelm II . The stories he told (he made them up more than read them) often involved three characters, two of which were idiots. He was also fond of seven. The main character had to gather seven things, do seven tasks, walk seven miles, stay seven nights, wait seven years, always seven. And yes, the treasure was usually not the thing being sought, but something else, often at home. If Pyle's stories were full of sevens, I think we can conclude Dad knew them.

As I got older, the "three characters, two are idiots" meme would often pop up in references to our own family of three. Dad was always one of the idiots, leaving me or Mom to take the credit for something. The older I got, the more often I was one of the idiots, and deservedly so. Dad's gone, but the trend is holding.

I always looked forward to Dad's "Seven Layer Salad", which never had seven layers and was rarely a salad. He might make a pot of chili, saying "I didn't have time to make chili, so here's a bowl of seven layer salad." But, his lasagna was always seven layers deep, he wouldn't buy plywood with less than 7 plies and he loved going to the huge flea market on 7-Mile Road in Racine, WI.

Your world view is very much like mine, probably because we were separated (in time and space) at birth. I believe we also share a love for absurdity, possibly because we're often causing it.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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The proper book to read to a young child is Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies". The illustrations are a delight to a child's eyes. The book starts "A is for Amy who fell down the stairs. B is for Basil assaulted by bears." It seems like the sort of book that Maddy would've written. After all, it contains "R is for Rhoda consumed by a fire." ;)

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6 minutes ago, Parhelion Palou said:

The proper book to read to a young child is Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies".

Yes.  My children enjoyed that book when they were little too. My kids also enjoyed his book of cat cartoons ("Little mousies what I like to eat ... ").  Gorey had a wonderfully quirky way of looking at the world, not exactly macabre but quietly morbid in an Edwardian sort of way. ("Ho-hum, Uncle Willy's dead.  Anyone for tennis?")  I think he gained popularity in the 70s as the Addams Family was big on TV.  Gorey's animated opening for the PBS Mystery program was a classic too. 

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I learned the word "ennui" from Gorey, which is why I'll never let it kill me, unlike Neville.

I also learned to be my own person from Eloise and Madeline.

Another of my favorite childhood books is "A Great Big Ugly Man Came Up and Tied His Horse to Me"...

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and the wordless wonder of "Art Afterpieces", though that's not really a children's book...

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Kimball's silliness...

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Inspired me to apply my Photoshop skills to other people's (in this case Ciaobella Mirabella) SL photographs, like this...

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I also love Kliban (who did "Mousies", Rolig) and Larson. Oh how I miss Gary Larson...

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Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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3 hours ago, Rolig Loon said:

Oops.  :$

S'okay. The important thing is that you introduced your kids to Kliban.

I found a copy of Wonder Clock online and searched for "seven" in its 24 stories. Here are sentence fragments for every occurrence.

  1. hunt for seven summer days
  2. in the basket were seven young ducks
  3. Over by the glass hill are seven birds
  4. for you are the first who has been here for twenty-seven ages
  5. coming with seventeen tall men
  6. he had not eaten a bite for seven years
  7. Off he went after Peterkin and the Little Grey Hare, seven miles a step.
  8. he had not eaten a bite for seven years.
  9. She lives on the glass hill that lies beyond the seven high mountains, the seven deep valleys, and the seven wide rivers; are you man enough to go that far?"
  10. they flew over the seven high mountains, the seven deep valleys, and the seven wide rivers
  11. it covered as much ground as seven large barns.
  12. more beer than thirty-seven men could drink
  13. I will come for my pay at the end of seven days
  14. At the end of seven days
  15. Let us keep it for seven years at least
  16. and the woman might keep it for seven years 
  17. why not leave him for another seven years
  18. so the dwarf put off taking him for seven years longer

I searched for all the other digits, too. One and two appear incidentally, as in "one or two" of something. Three is all over the place because there are the three characters you mentioned in many of the stories. Four appears twice in one story. Five appears in two stories, as money in one (where five is a common denomination) and as incidental references in another (useless as a a fifth wheel, five fingers). Six appears twice in one story (as a number of rivers) and eight appears twice as 81 men in another. Nine does not appear at all.

Of course, once seven is introduced in a story, you expect to hear it again and again. But no number appears purposely in more than one story, other than seven, which appears in eight of the twenty-four. It certainly seems that Pyle fancied the number seven. I'm going to declare that, though I've never heard of Wonder Clock, the prevalence of "seven" in the stories of my childhood is likely the result of Dad knowing the book.

Is that good enough for you to believe your long shot hit its mark? It's good enough for me to tell Mom that I've learned where Dad got his fondness for seven.

ETA: Mom's skeptical.

"What about Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? The Seven Percent Solution? 7-UP? 7-11?"

I'm sticking with my confirmation bias, dammit.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-do-people-love-the-number-seven-so-much-1666353786

Sigh.

Edited by Madelaine McMasters
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